Since 2013 when Brad Westmorland was first diagnosed with cancer in one of his kidneys, the Monroe family’s life has been a constant medical struggle. He went on to lose both his kidneys and in May this year also had to undergo open heart surgery when doctors found he had a leaky aorta. But they had received some good news in December, 2015.
“I received a phone call from the Emory transplant center letting me know I had been placed on a kidney transplant list and could look into finding a donor,” Westmoreland said.
But with 100,791 people waiting for a kidney transplant, as of Jan. 11, 2016 according to the National Kidney Foundation, the family needed to do more than just wait – they needed to do everything they could to locate a person prepared to make the life saving donation of a kidney. With a wife and young daughter, all Westmoreland wanted was to be a regular family man and help raise his daughter. So, with the help of family and friends, the Westmoreland family set about trying to find that special person. Social media was used, a billboard was set up on the side of the road in Between, but it was harder than they had expected.
That special person, however, was much closer than they had imagined.
“Weeks went by with people telling us they were going to be evaluated to see if they were a match to donate their kidney and we never heard anything back from any of those people,” said Westmoreland’s wife, Tonya. “We started to get down and out so I decided to go get tested to see if I was a match.”
Tonya filed the application, but then there was a delay in the testing process because of her husband’s open heart surgery.
“Finally, on June 27 we went in for our evaluation at Emory and two weeks later we got the call from Emory that I was a match for him,” she said. “We scheduled the surgery for Aug. 19.”
Brad Westmoreland had found the hero who is able to save his life. It was his wife of 27 years and she had been right there all along. But now the family is faced with some of the issues that come along with both of them being out of commission for a period of time due to medical issues.
“Our family will have the burden of a lot of out of pocket expenses associated with this type of transplant. Now that my wife will be out from her job six weeks we’re really going to need some help since the transplant surgery will be scheduled in August,” Westmoreland said, going on to say that as a result he has been encouraged to set up a GoFundMe Account. “Now that I have my Hero, time is of the essence and all donations will be very much appreciated.”
The GoFundMe account can be found at this link. A BBQ and Bingo fundraiser has also been arranged for July 30 at the American Legion Post 64. The details follow.